Critic Vs. Fan
What exactly does it mean to be a fan and to be part of a fandom? What is the difference? I think this differs from person to person, but I can tell you one thing, my perception is different than it once was. I’ve always been a fan of music, where I bought the music, went to concerts and paid extra attention when those bands were on TV or the radio. As far as fandoms go, I was under the impression that these were reserved for the phantics, the crazy people, the boy band lovers. That was until I became a Lee DeWyze fan and before I got to know my friends in the Lee DeWyze fandom, the FamiLee. Cheesy to you? It’s not. I’ve met the greatest most loyal friends I have ever had in this FamiLee. It works just like a real family. We argue, we disagree, but at the end of the day we are all there together to support something we all love…Lee DeWyze. That is all that matters. Not who buys the most, who goes to the most shows, not who agrees or disagrees with his personal choices… It’s about Lee as a songwriter, singer and musician.
So who is Lee Dewyze? People outside the fandom might just say “he is that guy that won American Idol; he is another white guy with a guitar."Guess what? He is so much more than that.
For those of you that don't know who Lee is, would you like to hear about Him from the perspective of a music writer; that gets paid to write about anyone they are asked to write about ? That has only listened to a couple of his songs??
OR would you like to hear about Lee Dewyze from the perspective of a fan, someone that knows his music, knows what he is capable of? The second, right? That is where you are going to get a true gage of someone’s talent, to read about how they touch other people’s lives and hearts on a daily basis.
I invite you to read back through this blog to get an idea of just how much Lee inspires me to create art and hear the stories behind each one , but this post; this post is dedicated to explaining his music. Lee is currently working on a new album and I can not even begin to tell you how amazing the new music is. We have only heard a few new songs at shows...but it's going to be amazing.
I'd like to tell you about Lee's new song "Stone". I'm going to tell you about it from a Fan's perspective. To be fair, I'm going to also include a side by side comparison to the "Top characteristics of a great song" according to the "music business" .
Characteristics of a Great Song
Lee DeWyze’s new song“Stone”
1. An idea that has an original element; if it's been done, it's not great.
-Stone: Everything Lee writes is original. People have compared him to Mumford & Sons, but I never saw that. I’ve never heard a song crafted the same way. “Stone” has this powerful emotional impact . It makes you feel hopeful and somber all at the same time. The passion that comes across in this song is overwhelming
2. A common thread, musical and/or lyrical, that people react to on a gut level; if they don't relate, it's not great.
- Stone: This one actually made me laugh out loud. I do not think it’s news to anyone that I relate to Lee’s music and lyrics. Lots of people relate to him and his words, it is what makes Lee so special. You can see HIM and yourself in every single song he writes. So are his lyrics relatable? …hell yes they are. Only a great song writer can make you feel a song the way Lee does. “Stone” pulls you in until you are rocking to the music along with him… feeling it in your bones .
3. A killer hook. You need one line that sums it all up and concentrates the message and the emotion into one climactic moment; if there's no payoff, it's not great.
-Stone: “Lay my body down” This is the definition of a killer hook…. While he is stomping his foot and strumming his guitar.. it makes you stomp along and sing and feel it. You want a visual? Think of a Baptist church scene while someone is being baptized… so much passion, hope, renewal... all while singing and clapping….
4. A well-reinforced hook. The story should create a tension that peaks or resolves itself in the hook. Also, people have to be able to remember what your song is called when they go to the record store to buy it or call up the radio station to request it; if there's no build and release, it's not great.
-Stone: “down in the river where I threw my stone”…This lyric hits every point listed above. It creates that tension, and easily reminds people what the song is called, “Stone” I’ve only heard this song live, but this hook gets stuck in your head and that’s ok with me.
5. A great story, even if it's a simple emotional snapshot, needs to have something interesting to draw the listener in; if it's boring, it's not great.
6. Real feelings; if it's fake, it's not great.
–Stone- (#5 & 6) I am going to speak to these two characteristics as one.. The story this song tells you is extremely emotional, passionate and real. All of Lee’s songs come from real feelings, there is no denying that. “Stone” however seems so raw and personal.. it draws you in and can either make you feel hopeful or lost depending on your own mood when listening. It takes a truly great songwriter and song to make you feel so many emotions in 3 ½ minutes.
7. A great publisher or plugger to get it cut; a song isn't great until it's out there doing its job, touching lives, and earning money.
**I’m still thinking about this because I am not sure I agree with the statement that a great song has to earn money….There are way too many songs to count in the world that make millions that have none of the characteristics listed above and only make money because they are force-fed to us by the industries. I am not the type to bash ANY artist publically so I will not give examples, however I know we all can name several *wink*
So there you go…. Using the knowledge of a professional music standards AND the point of view from a passionate music fan…it’s official: “Stone” is a fantastic song and Lee is an amazing songwriter… BOOM.